As Blogger-at-Large for Oceania Cruises, I often encounter
some particularly pleasant “dilemmas” when traveling at sea. A perfect example
is when I recently awakened to find myself at the island of Rhodes on a beautiful
warm sunny day. My dilemma was this: should I spend my day on the gorgeous
beach frolicking in the indescribably blue waters of the Mediterranean, or
should I explore the beautifully preserved ancient city of Rhodes, once home to
Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World?

I know this is quite an enviable challenge to face. Rest
assured that I found a solution – I did both!

Walking distance from the pier where the ship docks, I found
Elli Beach, a welcoming beach with everything a traveler would need to enjoy an
afternoon in the sun and the warm Mediterranean waters. There are hundreds of
colorful umbrellas for the fair skinned or sun shy, rented sun decks,
beachfront taverns and plenty of delightful little restaurants.

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If you haven’t fallen blissfully asleep in the warm sun or
aren’t hypnotized by the gorgeous blue waters lapping gently at the shore, you
can entertain yourself with the many other more adventurous activities like water
sports, diving or beach volley ball.

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If you never make it off the beach, I seriously doubt you
will live with any regret. That being said, I did not regret exploring the
Grand Masters Palace in the old town of Rhodes.

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But first, let me address the Colossus of Rhodes, because if
you are anything like me, you may be wondering, if it is so colossal, where is
it?! A towering monument to the Golden Age of this island, the colossus was one
of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Only one of these wonders, the Great
Pyramid of Giza, remains relatively intact today. It took 12 years to build the
Colossus of Rhodes, which is thought to have been completed somewhere around
290 BC. In 226 BC the statue crumbled in an earthquake, and for centuries
pieces of the statue laid in the harbor. In the 7th century, Arabs
captured the island and took all of the pieces of the colossus to Syria and
sold it as scrap metal.

As the colossus now exists only in legend, I took a peaceful
walk through the beautiful gardens just outside the Grand Masters Palace and
enjoyed some lovely views of this historic site that still stands today.

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The Knights of Rhodes built the Grand Masters Palace in the 14the century. Heavily fortifying
the city, the Knights were able to successfully fight off invaders for over two
centuries until the Ottoman Empire captured Rhodes in 1522. Under the Ottomans the
palace was used as a fortress.

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In 1856 the castle was destroyed by an enormous ammunition
explosion and laid in ruins until the Italian Occupation of Rhodes in 1912.
Rebuilt in a medieval style, the palace became a holiday residence for King Victor
Emmanuel III and later for Benito Mussolini.

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In 1948, after World War II, Rhodes was transferred to the
Kingdom of Greece, and the Greeks converted the palace to a museum. It is now
part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Medieval City of Rhodes.

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What a lovely place for Nautica
to visit on her final European port of call before sailing for Asia and Africa
for the winter season. I can promise Nautica
guests had no shortage of fascinating historic sites to explore and pleasant
activities to enjoy during their stay. If the approach of winter has you
eagerly planning a vacation for the summer of 2013, you should certainly
consider an Oceania Cruises voyage that includes this lovely Greek island on
the itinerary.

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